Thursday, February 26, 2009

Da Da Doo Doo...Just Dance

Dancing...Very scary for some and highly sought after by others. Dancing can be a form of self expression, exercise, a way to be close to the opposite sex, or just a way to let loose and have some fun. The dancing that I'm going to discuss is the "social kind"; not something you would see on America's Best Dance Crew.

Now I can only give a guy's perspective on dancing; however, I will be be able to give an observation of the female perspective. A lot of guys do not particularly like dancing. The reason many of them do dance is to be close to a female. For men this is the beginning of a more intimate journey. One that could go in many different directions. Granted that these guys want to begin a journey (the destination is different for everyone), but getting started on the right path is very difficult.

Many guys feel like "creepers" when they try and dance with a girl. It is a very bad idea to just walk up behind a girl and begin dancing with/on her. Most girls tend to stay with a group of friends, and once they feel like they are being creeped on, a secret code of eye movements and head nods is used causing her friends to take her away saving her from what she feels is an uncomfortable situation. It takes some ground work for a girl to feel comfortable straying from their group or at least adding another person into it.

I have an Australian friend here at Purdue who was entirely perplexed by the grinding situation at an American party. he describes grinding in Australia as a prelude to a "good night". While here in America dancing can literally mean nothing and just be a fun way to hang out. He said he felt like these girls would slap him in the face if he danced with them like that. I explained to him how he should go about it:

I said there are a few key steps that you should practice and utilize. When you're walking through a room make eye contact with some girls that you are interested in. If they return the eye contact that is step one. Next wander over to them maybe strike up a small talk conversation, otherwise make eye contact again and begin to dance around/as a part of her group. Laughing, smiling, and more eye contact means that you're doing well.

After a bit of dancing from a distance make your way closer. Don't just get up behind her; she makes the final decision. Once you get close enough to look as though the two of you are together, but aren't touching she will either go the rest of the way or back away. If she goes the rest of the way you're good to go. Have fun! If not, it's no big deal. Don't push the issue just move to another room and try again.

Now he did put this advice to use one night and came back with a wonderfully funny success story, eventhough he did say that he still felt awkward and wanted to go back to his personal space. Most girls love to dance, most guys love when they do. However, there is a process in order for the journey to be successful and for the awkward creeper feelings to be at a minimum. Have fun dancing!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Confidence Juice; Truth Serum...An Excuse

What makes alcohol so appealing? Maybe its the taste...except that a vast majority of people won't drink something if they can taste the alcohol. Ok, so that's not it. Maybe its the hangover the next day...haha. Well, than what can it be? From what I have observed, alcohol has been called many things. I've heard it being called confidence juice and truth serum, liquid gold and poison; however, more over I believe alcohol is just an easy excuse.

Alcohol is a very common drug that is used by people all over the world to achieve a desired effect. Alcohol lowers people's inhibitions. They are more confident in what they are saying, in what they are doing, and in what they are feeling; however, these effects are only short lived. the decisions made during the brief period of self-confidence are often regretted the next morning once a person has a chance to recal or be re-told the night. The reason for this is simple. Alcohol is lowering the inhibitions that are put into place by a sober mind. It is being used as an excuse for otherwise normally unaccepted behavior.

Some people say that they drink in order to be more confident. Well this is indeed a truth about alcohol, and possibly if used in moderation the desired confidence can be a achieved. while still making decisions that will not be regretted in the morning. Whether this confidence is in the form of talking to members of the opposite sex, dancing, or just being comfortable in a normally intimdating social enviornment. However, the problem is that most people do not know when they have reached that level. They get excited about the "confidence" they feel and therefore continue to drink in order to obtain more of this feeling. This mentality is what causes a person to drink to much, lowering the inhibitions further causing actions that will lead to regret.

Once a person completely breaks down these barriers, the desired actions begin to advance to a level that they were not intended to go. instead of just talking to members of the opposite sex a person begins to "creep" on them or may advance the talking to actions of a more intamte level. In normal conversation many secrets and privlaged information are shared with an audience that they were not inteded for. This causes all sorts of drama and turmoil. People get angry over broken promises and "true feelings". Later people excuse the behavior by saying "I was drunk".

This phrase is an all to common one. People excuse behavior that they would normally scoff at because they were drinking. Instead of owning up to a mistake they blame alcohol and expect everything to be forgivin. Unfortunately that is not the way the sober mind works. So a word of advice not only from observations but also from some personal experience, don't use alcohol as an excuse; it will only get you into trouble.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Big Questions

So normally at the end of the week I write a blog pertaining to the weekend social life. Tonight I decided not to do that. I had an epiphany this week and I just needed to write about it. This was one of those moments where the light bulb just comes on, and it all makes sense. It has to do with the way people learn and how they think. I believe that everyone has one big question that they ask, and almost anything that they remember or learn pertains to that question.

The questions that I'm talking about are the simple one's that we learned in the 2nd grade; who?, what?, when?, where?, why?, and how?. So here's the theory: everyone has one question that they particularly cling to. Most engineers want to know how things work; historians of various sorts ask the who and where questions; and psychologists want to know why. These different questions shape people's lives by giving them something specific to study and analyze.

The question that I ask is "why?". This question drives my very being (now don't think that, I do have a social life). Even the blog that I write in twice a week is an analytical approach to why people act the way they do. I find that when I can figure out why something is the way it is then I can understand it. These understandings come from something as simple as a math process to something as complicated as the human brain.

In math I find that I can do perfectly in the class if I know why the equations work the way they do. If a process is just thrown in front of me, I will be able to do it, but I won't be able to do it correctly all of the time. Some people are the opposite. If they learn why something is the way it is it only confuses them more. They want to know how to do it or what to do, but when it comes to the question of why they would rather not know. I believe this is why some people can do so much better on certain exams than others. If the subject is difficult to attach to your personal question then it is nearly impossible to attach any amount of importance to it. Without importance it is very difficult for us to want to remember or care about a specific subject. These different questions shape the way that individuals learn and think.

In more social situations I am constantly analyzing why people sit where they sit, or why they say a certain phrase. Other people are perplexed by how someone can talk so fluidly or act so ignorantly. While the rest are trying to get the facts of the stories down. This is just a difference in that personal question; contributing to why each individual takes something different out a a situation. Different interpretations come from different questions, which can cause great confusion but at the same time give great incites into different situations. So next time you find yourself studying math or a social situation, try to figure out what your personal question is. I think you'll be surprised.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From "Friends" to Friends

Let's take a trip back to the first weeks of school. BGR week with all of its activities and no worries, syllabus week where we were reminded why we came to school, and then finally the beginnings of real work. Oh what wonderful memories. Now I want you to think about the people that surrounded you that week; your new "besties". Now look around you today. Who surrounds you now? I would venture to guess that good deal of those "besties" don't play such a large role in your day to day life anymore.

The first couple weeks of school are a time to meet tons of new people and get acclimated to life on your own. New freshman, myself included, needed to find new friends and associates to take place of those that had to be left behind. Roommates, BGR group members, and floor mates are the first people that really break the barriers of small talk. Spending a majority of time with these people allows time to hang out as well as for more in depth conversation. We begin to learn about these other peoples' lives before college. We feel like we know them and we are on a social high. Nothing could go wrong. All of these people are so cool. Hmmmmm...sounds a little to perfect.

The first couple weeks for me were blissful. I had a really good group of guys and had met some really cool girls through BGR. Me and my roommate talked at night and got into some deep conversations pertaining to life. I spent a lot of time with the guys in my BGR group and didn't really know much about my floor. After awhile I started realizing that there were quite a few inside jokes that i didn't understand and that no one would explain to me. Dane Cook says in one of his skits, that every group has a person that nobody like, that becomes the butt of everyone's jokes...Every group has a Karen. After awhile I began to realize that I was the Karen of the group. Wow! Now what? It was time to start finding people that liked me for me.

I believe everyone has gone through something like this while here at Purdue. The people you get close to initially begin to show their true colors once you actually get to know them past the surface layer of their character. Everyone loves everyone and no one fights the first few weeks of school because no one actually knows what anyone else is about. It takes much more than a few BGR activities to truly know anyone. While some people do get matched up with the right people during roommate selection and BGR others do not. During those first few weeks you do meet all kinds of new people; however, they are not the only people on this campus. Never stop meeting new people, because somewhere a "bestie" really does exist, but it takes much more than 3 weeks to know exactly who that is.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Party for Everyone

Parties are a great way to meet new people, even though sometimes they see you the next night and meet you all over again. Now let me start off by telling those of you that are not big party goers that their are many different types of parties, as well as many different types of people at these parties. There is literally a party for everyone, and not everyone that parties drinks. Many people have learned the art of having fun while sober. So don't always associate parties with forced drinking. I'm going to review a few different types of parties and if I don't hit one that fits you if you ask I'm sure I'll have a match for you.

We will start small and work our way up. Apartment parties can range in size, but because of their limits in size the crowds are usually kept to a more familiar group of people. If you are the type of person who would much rather just be a round a group of close friends this is probably the party place for you. Apartment parties are usually much more casual (hoodie and jeans). They also present a much more intimate conversation atmosphere. Many times there will be games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero being played. Also at an apartment party there is plenty of furniture for the people there, and if there's not the floor is usually pretty clean (unlike many larger parties). So lets recap. Apartment parties are excellent avenues for smaller tighter knit groups, or groups that want to become more closely knit. They also provide seating and other avenues of entertainment besides just talking.

The next level up on the intensity scale is the house party. Now these parties are a mix between the apartment and the fraternity (which we will talk about later). House parties have a bit more space than the classic apartment and provide a couple of rooms to party in). Extra rooms means that different personalities and and activities can occur and not interfere with one another. Depending on the type of house party the kitchen can be a place for various card and skill games (take it as you will). The living room can serve two purposes. If the atmosphere is a calmer one as in an apartment party classic wanna be video games are played with much intensity. If the party is one of a higher intensity the living room can serve as a dance floor with music blaring and people of all types strutting, or attempting to, strut their stuff. So what have we learned? House parties are for people that are still looking for a familiar atmosphere, but don't mind meeting new people and letting loose a bit more.

Now for the Fraternity party...dun dun duhnnnnnn!!! Now fraternity parties can be a bit intimidating for some people. These are venues with a ton of people most of which you do not know. The music is loud, dancing is highly encouraged, and intimate conversation is not an easy task. If you get claustrophobic these parties are not the place for you. Another thing to keep in mind about a fraternity party is that it is actually someones home. So they do get a little testy at times when people they do not know are disrespecting that (possibly another blog entry). Most fraternities offer a lot of space. If you get bored in one section just start to wander to another. There will be new people to meet and hang out with. Most people at fraternities like to be social and are OK with new people coming up, introducing, and talking with them. Now don't be a creeper about it, but Fraternities are a great way to meet tons of new people that eventually could end up being some pretty good friends. The fraternity parties scare some shyer (not sure if that's a word) people away, but they are a place where everyone is looking dance, to meet new people, and to leave having had a great time.

There truly is a social setting for everyone. Don't ever think that because you aren't the most social person that you can't go out to have a good time with friends. Now don't get me wrong not every party is for everyone. Some people hate going to fraternities while others think that apartment parties are boring. I personally enjoy both. The different social atmospheres bring different positive attributes to the table. Parties range in size, intensity, and type. Don't be scared to find your fit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Uh oh...didn't see that comin'.

Its so interesting to watch how quickly peoples reactions change in a given situation. People will go from laughing hysterically to being very concerned or angry. Most times this occurs because the severity of the situation is not understood initially, and once it is understood it is seen in a completely different light. Now this picture on the left describes this to some extent. This young child probably thought it would be funny to sneak and get a cookie right before dinner time. Now look more closely at his face. He knows hes been caught. Mommy always said not to spoil your dinner, and there he was headed to time out for sure. he might have laughed about getting away with his dirty deed for days on end, and who knows, maybe even tried it again. But in an instant all this came crumbling down. He was in trouble, and the situation was much more serious. OK, so I get this is a pretty poor example. You may not be convinced. Tell me you're not a believer after this.

A friend of mine told me this story: "I was walking back to Shreve one night and this boy rode past me on his bike eating a bag of Doritos". (talented right) "Well all of a sudden he wiped out and was lying on the ground" (This is where we laugh; it's what he gets for trying to multi-task while operating a moving vehicle.) "Then i realized he was moving. I went over there and he was seizing. He had fallen off his bike because he had a seizure. not only was he seizing, but he was also choking on a Dorito." (If you don't want anymore details skip to the next paragraph) "He was turning blue, and I knew that there was nothing anyone can do for someone who is having a seizure. It has to run its course. I called 911, and they took care of it from there." Now for all of you that are terrified, this multi-tasker did live.

Now as we can notice in the previous paragraph, a seemingly hilarious situation can turn very serious and dangerous once we realize the severity of the given situation. Not all of these situations are life and death. Some are as simple as getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar to getting caught with some stolen property that you thought would make a funny addition to your room. These situations occur all the time. Let's have another example.

Last night Cary had a fire alarm go off, meaning the fire department and police all showed up. (You think you know where this story is have no idea.) After inspection of the facility the fire department turned off the alarm and allowed everyone entrance. Of course their job is not finished. They have to stay and make sure everything is under control and inspect other causes for the alarm. (Stop trying to guess the can't.)

I was back in my room nice and cozy eating some easy mac with a buddy when to more guys from the floor walked in all giggly. One of them is holding a garbage bag with a mystery object inside. We closed the door all curious as to what was so funny. We open the bag and in it lies a nifty little hat. Oh it's not just a hat; it's a firefighters helmet. (Told ya you wouldn't see that coming.) We all started cracking up. I mean come on it's not everyday you have a piece of your age 5 dream job sitting in front of you. We played with the light and eventually it was time for bed, so I kicked everyone out of my room. If only that was the end.

Upon walking out of the room, we realize that the RA's are on the look out for a fire fighter's helmet. Ahhhhh....complete 180. This is no longer funny. This is serious. In case you didn't know, stealing a fire fighter's helmet is stealing from the government. They don't take that lightly. Well it didn't take long for the police to show up fine the suspects. They were caught, brought in for a nice talk, and were given a bed for the night. I think you know what I mean.

What's funny one minuet comes completely retarded the next. Everyone who wasn't directly involved but laughed originally are now experts on crimes and the stupidity of the other individuals. It is just so interesting how quickly people change sides and how they view a situation. If you ever find yourself in a "funny" situation make sure to take the time to analyze whether that situation is truly hilarious, or a mistake waiting to happen.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Emotional/Physical Battle

Oh hormones!! They are so small, yet they play such a huge part in our decision making. This is especially true when it comes to members of the opposite sex. Yea, I went there (however I will keep it G rated). As hard as we try, and no matter how good we think we are neither men nor women will ever be able to unlock the mysteries of the other. Some people get close, and sometimes you may believe you have it down; each person is diferent, and feelings and emotions change in an instant. So whats my point?

Many people make the mistake of attaching physical attraction and interaction with emotional feelings that never previously existed for this person. Whether it be a hook-up at a party or a friend that you have known for awhile, it doesn't matter. Previous to that kiss, or whatever..., you never thought of this person in a relationship context. However, after this incident of passion you feel yourself thinking about this person or turning over the posibilities of dating this person. Now this doesn't make you wierd; it just makes you confused.

The limbic system, center for emotions, loves to play games. When a physical attraction or incident occurs hormones and other chemicals are released into the brain and other areas of the body that bring emotions into play. Now here is where people make the mistake. Those feelings are not real, they are not genuine, and they won't last. Sorry! Unless there were feelings there to begin with, physical attraction and physical situations can not cause nor sustain an emotional connection. Now I don't expect you to take my word for it, so lets set up a scenario.

Now if we take a look at this we will see why it will not work. You are attending a "function" where the music is loud and people seem to be coming out of the walls. You begin to scan the crowd. Ding ding ding! We have a winner. You start the usual small talk (major, hometown, residence...) and while doing so you are checking this new found friend out. This is where the physical attraction begins. " favorite song". You begin to dance (sway for some). Now where it goes from there is up to you, but I think we get the picture.

Now all you know about this person is, hopefully, there name, hometown, and other minor details. You might have their phone number, and the next day all you can think about is that person. You may even text them and soon realize that this conversation has no substance. Uh-oh. Should we keep trying and forcing this conversation to last? No! You don't like this person, but your limbic system does. The emotional-physical battle is one that is fought all to often. People find themselevs head over heels for someone they just got to know in more intimate sense. While the physical is fun at the time, it is absolutly necesary to remember that true feelings for someone can only be real if there is not a recent physical situation coming into play.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"I love him/her to death, but..."

Most people have more than one person that they would call a friend. Forming a group of friends to hang out with and talk to when needed is something that comes naturally. People need that social contact. Some groups are small and more tightly knit, while others are larger encompassing a wide variety of personalities. While the ideal situation would be that everyone in the group could get along perfectly with one another or have all members together at all times, this is merely impossible. With different class schedules, commitments, and interests different members of the main group will be separated at different times.

This separation can be good however. I have found that when two or three members of a larger group have time alone together that is when the more personal conversation arises. People feel that they can be more open in more intimate situations. This allows for the different members of the group to get to know one another more and in more depth. This is when it seems that the real bonds are formed. Be warned though. This is also a great opportunity for those members of the group to talk about the quality of the other people that make up this group of friends.

Now hopefully no one enjoys sitting around the TV degrading and finding all the faults of someone that they call a friend, but it does tend to happen. Whether this is caused by an event that happened earlier that day or from a lack of other conversation it tends to come up quiet regularly. The phrase "I love him/her to death, but..." is a commonly used one when people are talking about their friends. This phrase shows that the person talking does indeed care about that person, but there's just something about him/her that isn't right. Most times this conversation between the small group is never supposed to leave the group. It is just venting or a discussion in order to attempt to understand a person better. Right?

Unfortunately this is not always the case. As hard as people try it is very difficult for them to keep their mouths shut about anything. Once another void in the conversation occurs and another small group begins to talk. Secrets are let out and the drama begins. What started as small talk easily turns into "true feelings" and rumors. This occurs all to often. Whether eves dropping on a conversation or participating in one I'm sure that you have all realized how much people begin to talk about one another, especially those that they are close to. But why do we do it?

It happens for a variety of reasons. Some people talk about there friends negatively in order to make themselves feel better about themselves. Others talk about these people for the simple reason that they do not understand the situations fully or the person fully. No one likes it when they figure out a puzzle or problem. Therefore they begin to talk it over in order to try to understand. The same happens in social situations. I believe the main cause of gossip and rumors is because people are genuinely trying to find a reason for the behavior or words of a friend. However, in the end they only end up hurting that individual.